Source: BMC Veterinary Research
High-grain diets that meet the energy requirements of high-producing ruminants are associated with a high risk of rumen disorders. Mild acid treatment with lactic acid (LA) has been used to modify the degradable characteristics of grains to improve the negative effects of high-grain diets. However, the related studies mainly focused on dairy cows and explored the effects on rumen fermentation, production performance, ruminal pH and so forth. And up to date, no studies have reported the hydrochloric acid (HA) treatment of grains for ruminant animals. Therefore, based on metabolomics analysis, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of treatment of corn by steeping in 1% LA or 1% HA for 48 h on the rumen and plasma metabolic profiles in beef steers fed a high corn (48.76%) diet with a 60:40 ratio of concentrate to roughage. The inflammatory responses of beef cattle fed LA- and HA-treated corn were also investigated.
Based on ultra-high-performance liquid tandem chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF/MS) metabolomics and multivariate analyses, this study showed that steeping corn in 1% LA or 1% HA modulated the metabolic profiles of the rumen. Feeding beef steers corn steeped in 1% LA or 1% HA was associated with lower relative abundance of carbohydrate metabolites, amino acid metabolites, xanthine, uracil and DL-lactate in the rumen; with higher ruminal pH; with lower concentrations of acetate, iso-butyrate and iso-valerate; and with a tendency for lower ruminal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) concentrations. Moreover, the data showed lower concentrations of plasma C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A, haptoglobin, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8 in beef steers fed 1% LA- or HA-treated corn. The 1% LA treatment decreased the concentrations of plasma LPS, LPS-binding protein and tumour necrosis factor-alpha and the relative abundance of L-phenylalanine, DL-3-phenyllactic acid and tyramine in plasma. The 1% HA treatment decreased the relative abundance of urea in plasma and increased the relative abundance of all amino acids in the plasma.
These findings indicated that LA or HA treatment of corn modulated the degradation characteristics of starch, which contributed to improving the rumen and plasma metabolic profiles and to decreasing inflammatory responses in beef steers fed a high-concentrate diet.